Aluminum is one of your many material options for a cable railing system. While aluminum does take a lot of energy to create, this material’s environmental impact has improved significantly. Here are the environmental advantages of aluminum and how it compares to other railing materials.
How Aluminum Reduces Your Environmental Impact
We do need to use a lot of energy to create aluminum. However, the industry has taken several steps to reduce the impact this material has on the environment. Here are some of those changes:
- Recycling: Much of the aluminum in your railing can be recycled instead of created fresh. Recycling takes less energy and fossil fuel usage than creating material from scratch. In the end, your railing will likely end up being recycled for another purpose too. In fact, three-fourths of the aluminum ever created in the United States is still in use today.
- Industry: The aluminum industry as a whole has reduced the overall carbon footprint by 40%. Due to technological advances, the energy needed to create aluminum has dropped 25% since 1995.
- Weight: Aluminum is a lightweight material that therefore costs less fuel to transport. That also reduces it’s cost as well as it’s carbon footprint.
- Treatment: Aluminum does not need to be retreated, unlike wood and PVC. That means you can skip on the chemicals and keep the soil around your property healthier.
Benefits of Aluminum
Beyond the reduced environmental impact, there are many other benefits of using aluminum railings.
- Strength: Aluminum is a strong metal option that can increase your railing safety over other material choices such as vinyl and plastics.
- Durability: Aluminum performs well outside, resisting rusting and other effects of rain, sun and wind. Even in extreme temperatures, it will hold up well. It does not shrink and expand as much as other materials do in the California sun.
- Beauty: Aluminum has a lovely metallic look, and it can be finished in a wide range of colors to match your property’s aesthetics.
- Maintenance: While some railing material will need maintenance, an aluminum railing will not.
Steel or Aluminum?
If you’re choosing between steel and aluminum for your railings, there are a few things you should know. Steel is recyclable and has a reduced impact on the environment. It also offers some advantages that aluminum cannot. These advantages include:
- Superior strength: Steel is stronger than aluminum and can create a more stable and safe railing. Both in homes and on business properties, this strength can help reduce liability and bring you greater peace of mind.
- Superior durability: Steel can be treated to handle even marine environments, where humidity and saltwater can ruin many other materials and will degrade aluminum. This is an important consideration for coastal properties as well as manufacturing and industrial facilities.
- Unique appearance: Steel railings, and especially stainless steel railings, have a sleek, modern look that is simply a better fit for a variety of interior design styles.
It’s not all benefits. Steel is heavier than aluminum and more costly as well.
If you’re trying to decide between steel and aluminum for your next cable railing system, give us a call today. We’re always happy to help you better understand your options so you can choose the system that’s right for you.